Category Archives: AAM News

Fab Collab – Queens Museum of Art and Project Row Houses: An On-Site Insight Experience

Project Row Houses has been showing visitors for years how art can impact a neighborhood in a positive way.  And on Sunday, May 22, 50 AAM attendees got a double dose when they had the opportunity to visit and see the work that PRH has been doing for the last 17 years plus hear firsthand about the impressive strides that the Queens Museum of Art (QMA) have made in connecting with their surrounding diverse community. 

The tour began at PRH’s office building where new faces crowded into the cool air-conditioning as Rick Lowe (PRH Founding Director), Tamika Evans (Row House CDC Property Manager), Tom Finkelpearl (QMA Executive Director) and Prerana Reddy (QMA Event Director) welcomed everyone to Project Row Houses.  Rick told the story of PRH, his conversations in 1992 with six other African American artists and how they were working toward using their art to create a positive change within the Third Ward Community.  During a tour of Houston’s worst neighborhoods they discovered the 22 boarded up shotgun houses (c.1933), and inspired by Joseph Beuys’ idea of Social Sculpture and the work of Dr. John Biggers, transformed the houses and created Project Row Houses as we know it today.Everyone stepped out in the Houston sunshine and began walking down the historic oyster-shelled sidewalk along Holman Street, where they meandered in and out of the seven historic shotgun houses which now serve as Artist Project Spaces, currently displaying Round 34: Matter of FOODA few attendees were delighted to see GreenHouse Collective’s aquaponic garden and the chickens located in the back courtyard. 

We turned the corner onto St. Charles, walking by the Young Mothers Residential Program and gazed upon the development of 12 Duplexes where the Row House CDC provides affordable rental units, designed by Rice Building Workshop.  We wandered into the old Delia’s Lounge, which now serves as affordable studio rentals and visited with artists Robert Pruitt, Rabe’a Ballin and Gregory Michael Carter.  As we made our way across Dowling Street, Rick pointed out Flower Man’s House and the Rice Building Workhop’s ZeRow House. The tour ended at the historic Eldorado Ballroom.  Everyone had the opportunity to rest their tired legs and refill on water as Tamika Evans spoke in more depth about the residents living in the Row Houses CDC Duplexes, how they are selected, the interest of a mixed income neighborhood and the expectations for community interaction.The focus shifted as Prerana and Tom presented a PowerPoint of the Queens Museum of Art.    Maps are shown illustrating the melting pot community that surrounds QMA.  We learn through historic images that QMA is located inside the New York City building created to house the New York City Pavilion at the 1939 World’s Fair and that from 1946 to 1950 it housed the General Assembly of the newly formed United Nations.  As the context is set of where QMA is located, Tom and Prerana speak about the various programs their museum has developed and share images depicting the creative ways in which they have successfully connected with their surrounding community.  We learn they have community organizers and art therapists on staff, offering workshops and working out in the neighborhood engaging the diverse residents.  We see the The Panorama of the City of New York, the largest architectural model, built by Robert Moses for the 1964 World’s Fair and how Damon Rich activated the panorama by displaying housing foreclosures as part of his project Red Lines Housing Crisis Learning Center.  Additionally, we learned about some of the innovative projects being developed through their programs The Heart of Corona Initiative, Queens Teens and New New Yorkers.   

The presentation ended with PRH’s Ayanna Jolivet Mccloud talking about her project labotanica and then a Q&A followed.  Everyone emerged back into the May warmth making their way, with satisfied expressions upon their face, back onto the bus.  Feedback assures me that, for many, this was an inspiring first day of the conference. 

–Ashley Clemmer Hoffman, Project Row Houses; AAM 2011 On-Site Insight Co-Coordinator


The (Museum) World Comes to Houston

The Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo™ in Houston will mark the second year AAM has made a concerted outreach effort to international museum colleagues, hosting an impressive contingent from China, Latin America and the Middle East. The objective is to share knowledge, learn from our respective experiences and build collegial relationships around the world

“Cultural exchanges have long been a staple of U.S. ties with other nations,” said AAM president Ford W. Bell. “Understanding other cultures is where wisdom comes from, and such understanding is essential to building friendship and inspiring cooperation. Museums play a big part in building that trust”

In Houston, AAM expects a large contingent of attendees from over 40 countries, who will participate in a special Global Views Track of over 24 sessions, some of which will be simultaneously translated into Chinese, Spanish and Arabic, as well as a series of roundtable discussions with colleagues from around the world.  At the 2010 AAM Los Angeles meeting, the roundtables were the forum for genuine pan-Pacific connections, offering frank, open and constructive dialogue.

The international participants will also come together at the Global Views Reception on Sunday, May 22 from 6:30-8 p.m. at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. We urge everyone to register for the reception on the AAM website and join us that evening in welcome our international colleagues to Houston.

International attendees are also invited to stop by the International Lounge, located in the George R.Brown Convention Center, Room 360 D. The lounge is open to attendees from 12-5 pm on Sunday and 8 am-5 pm from Monday thru Wednesday.

The Arabic facet of the Global Views Track is sponsored by The King Abdulaziz Center, an initiative of Saudi Aramco, and Aramco Services Company. Fellowship support for international attendees is provided by The Getty Foundation, Fundación Jumex, Agustin Coppel and the US Embassy, Mexico City.

Can’t make the meeting, but still want a piece of the action? Bring Houston to you!  AAM offers a Virtual Conference with select sessions, including “Museums Go Multilingual: Tools, Tricks and Trends for Presenting Museum Content for Everyone.”

Click here to register!

See you in Houston!
Nos vemos en Houston!
نراكم في هيوستن

–Dewey Blanton, American Association of Museums

Exhibition in Collaboration with AAM Offers Unique Perspective


Beginning this weekend, Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston presents an exhibition from the permanent collection of the Museum of Broken Relationships. In collaboration with the 2011 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo™ in Houston, the exhibition will feature detritus from failed relationships — be it a wedding dress, an “I Love You” teddy bear, or a set of fluffy handcuffs — donated to the museum by people from around the world. Objects from the permanent collection will be on view alongside ephemera offered by Houstonians and AAM attendees looking to exhibit their own love legacy; as a reminder, AAM attendees will be able to drop off their object on Sunday, May 22 between 9 am and 5 pm at the AAM 2011 Annual Meeting Volunteer Office in the George R. Brown Convention Center (Room 340AB).For those of you in Houston TONIGHT, Blaffer Art Museum invites the public to an opening reception in celebration of the exhibition. It will take place today, Friday, May 20, from 6 until 9 pm. Admission is free and complimentary cocktails will be provided.  If you plan on attending the opening reception, let Blaffer know on Facebook! But if you’re not in town until after AAM begins, be sure to catch a ride on a free bus tour that departs to Blaffer from Exhibit Hall E in front of the Convention Center at 1:30 pm on Tuesday, May 24.Conceptualized in Zagreb, Croatia, by Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic, after the couple ended their own romantic relationship in 2006, the Museum of Broken Relationships was established by the two to create a space of protected remembrance where the material and nonmaterial heritage of broken relationships can be witnessed, and where these experiences can move beyond the individual into a universal understanding.

–Jeff Bowen, Blaffer Art Museum; member of the AAM 2011 Public Relations & Marketing Subcommittee

One Lucky AAM Annual Meeting Attendee Wins Houston VIP Prize Pack

Marilyn Hoffman – VIP Prize Pack Winner!

Houston, we have a winner! We’re pleased to announce that AAM 2011 Annual Meeting attendee Marilyn Hoffman won a VIP Houston experience just for registering for this blog. The lucky winner was randomly selected from a list of nearly 300 registered followers.

AAM 2011 VIP Prize Pack

As the winner, Hoffman will enjoy the following perks that will undoubtedly make her 2011 AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo™ in Houston a truly unforgettable experience:

Marilyn Hoffman is the principal of Museum Search & Reference, a consulting firm based in Manchester, N.H. and Boston that offers executive searches for museums. Hoffman has been successfully placing professionals at museums and nonprofits since 2002. Prior to her consulting role, Hoffman had a 26-year museum career, including positions with the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Mass., the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, N.H.,  the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the RISD Museum in Providence, R.I.  She holds a B.A. and M.A. in art history from Brown University.

She will be moderating a panel session entitled “Varied Paths to the Top” on non-traditional paths to directorship at the conference on Monday, May 23 at 9:30 am. Be sure to stop by and congratulate her!

Thank you to all who participated! Continue to stay tuned for more great information on Houston and the AAM 2011 Annual Meeting on our blog!

–Jeff Bowen, Blaffer Art Museum
Anna Foret, Rice University Art Gallery
Adrienne Saxe, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
AAM 2011 VIP Package Task Force

AAM Annual Meeting Online Scheduling Tool

Want to know what I am so excited about?  The AAM Annual Meeting interactive schedule on the AAM website!  I know, I know.  It seems like such a minor thing, but this is huge when it comes to our meeting!  Take a look….  

This tool gives you a variety of features for personalizing, printing and sharing your conference schedule.  I mean, just look at it! Doesn’t it make you want to start planning and organizing?

Some of the included features are:

  • Accessing the schedule tool through any Web browser or Web-enabled mobile device (iPhones, Android, etc.)
  • Selecting and saving your customized schedule with the option to share it through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
  • Printing your custom schedule or publishing it to your iCal compatible calendar
  • Searching and accessing full-text descriptions of all sessions, including dates, locations, presenters and endorsements
  • Filtering sessions and events by date, location, and endorsement

So, I encourage those of you attending the conference to start using this amazing resource and make the most of your AAM Annual Meeting experience and time in Houston.

And, if you want to stalk me during the meeting, you can check out all the events and sessions I plan on attending here.

–Guzel duChateau, AAM New Media Specialist


Attention Museums!

The AAM 2011 Houston Hospitality Lounge, which will be located on the third level common area of the George R. Brown Convention Center (GRB), will be the designated place for AAM 2011 attendees to pick up information on all things Houston – including museums and cultural centers. So museums – we challenge you to bring it!

You’ll be responsible for delivering your museum and exhibit brochures (200 pieces max) to the GRB BEFORE THE CONFERENCE, so they can be displayed in the Hospitality Lounge. Here are the specifics on when to deliver, where and how….


Thursday, May 19 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Friday, May 20 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.


AAM 2011 Volunteer Office – GRB Room 340A
George R. Brown Convention Center
1001 Avenida de las Americas, Houston, TX 77010


When entering the GRB from the parking garage, come across the sky bridge and take the escalator/elevator ahead to your left (in the open space near the windows across from Starbucks) to the third floor. Follow signs to meeting room 340A down on the right.


Parking for the first 12 minutes in the GRB parking garage is free. So, if you can park, deliver and exit in 12 minutes, then you’re good to go.

If not, then the GRB has offered to validate parking for museum deliveries during the above mentioned times only. Simply bring in your parking ticket and validate through the red door marked “GRB Offices,” located across from Starbucks. Let them know you are there to drop off AAM materials right quick, and they will take care of you.

–Ted Bowen, Public Relations & Marketing Manager, City of Houston Convention & Entertainment Facilities Department;
member of the AAM 2011 Hospitality Subcommittee

Join us as Houston hosts the AAM Annual Meeting’s first ever Community Service Project

Many of us who are involved in museums are dedicated to caring for material culture and educating others about subjects like history, science, art and culture. But how often do we get to roll up our sleeves and be a part of making a tangible and unique expression that will leave a lasting legacy in our community? The 2011 AAM Community Service Project on Saturday, May 21 from 2 – 5 pm will give us just that opportunity.

Houston Museum of African American Culture

Houston Museum of African American Culture

AAM has partnered with one of Houston’s newest museums, the Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC) located at 4807 Caroline at Wentworth in the Houston Museum District, to give conference attendees and Houstonians alike the opportunity to unite and make murals that will be displayed publicly around the city at locations as diverse as Julia C. Hester House in the Fifth Ward, the Jewish Community Center, Ripley House Neighborhood Center, Blue Triangle Community Center in the Third Ward, and the Chinese Community Center.

You don’t have to be an artist to participate in the community service project or even think of yourself as creative or craftsy. The project is open to all!  We need all hands on deck to HMAAC expand the scope and impact of its mural initiative! There’s no doubt in my mind as to how rewarding the project will be as we all chip in to support a new museum.

Museum of Cultural Arts Houston

Museum of Cultural Arts Houston

The afternoon is designed to be easy and fun. HMAAC has selected a diverse group of talented local artists, such as Jade Cooper, Matt Manalo, Toni Brione, Julian Kyle, Daniel Anguilu, and Shannon Duckworth, who have designed paint-by-number-type murals for us to help fill in. The artists will be present during the project to guide us through the process, talk to us about their inspiration and discuss how they hope the works will affect the communities in which they are installed.

This is the first year that an AAM host committee has organized a community service project, and it will set an important precedent for how the conference can be leveraged in the future to support museums and spread positive change in the host community at large.  The AAM Community Service Project is something that Dean Phelus, AAM’s director of meetings and professional development has always wanted to do, and he knew that the Houston Local Host Committee would be the right group to make it happen.  Upon hearing the concept, Dr. Peter Marzio, who served as the General Chair of AAM 2011 until his death in December 2010, eagerly embraced the idea and charged the Local Host Committee’s public art and programming subcommittee led by co-chairs Jonathan Glus, the CEO of Houston Arts Alliance, and Claudia Schmuckli, director and chief curator of Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston, with the task of organizing it.

HMAAC was identified early on as an important partner in the project as their new home in the Houston Museum District is nearing completion around the same time as the AAM conference, and the subcommittee worked closely with John Guess, Jr. and the staff at HMACC to plan the project. HMAAC is an African American Museum that serves the greater Houston community, which is characterized by diversity. This diversity is reflected in the participating artists and community centers of this project, and reflected by HMAAC’s programming in general.  In addition, Houston has a storied history of magnificent murals, including those by the legendary African American painter John Biggers, and it will be an honor to participate in that tradition even in a small way.

For my part, I have enjoyed working on the subcommittee and getting to know my colleagues at HMAAC and fellow Community Service Project members: Monica Rhodes, the AAM 2011 Local Conference Coordinator; Trudi Smith from the Buffalo Bayou Partnership; and Reginald Adams from the Museum of Cultural Arts Houston. I am looking forward to working with the artists and helping HMAAC realize its mission. I think it will be a wonderful activity to kick off the AAM conference. It will put us off on the right foot and remind us all of the reason we are so passionate about museums– because they engage us, bring us together and give us a sense of community and purpose.

To participate in AAM Community Service Project, please RSVP to or call 713.353.1570 by May 15. Remember – EVERYONE is welcome!

–Rachel Hooper
Associate Curator and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Curatorial Fellow,
Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston;
member of the AAM 2011 Public Arts & Programming Subcommittee & Community Service Project Task Force